I would much rather live in a world where everyone has equal rights. I would rather live in a world where free education … a good education where young people are taught to think … is affordable and available to all. I would rather live in a world where good health care is available to all at a very small cost to those who cannot afford it, and a higher cost to those who can. I would rather live in a world where people have been taught since birth to respect everyone and everything … humans, but also the environment, all animals, trees, flowers, grass. I would rather live in a world where people can disagree without fighting, without screaming and yelling, without threats of violence. I would rather live in a world where people gladly stop to help a stranger or give up something – time or money or ‘things’ – in order to help another, whether person or animal. I would rather live in a world where it doesn’t matter if you’re black or white, straight or gay, male or female, Christian or atheist, but where everyone is treated fairly and equally. I would rather live in a world filled with love, than hate. I don’t mind if nobody can afford to own a mansion or a private jet, as long as everybody can afford food, shelter, medical care, education, and as long as we are cleaning up our own environmental mess. I would rather live in a world where people don’t worship money. I don’t care if I can never afford a brand-new car, or designer jeans, or if I can never take a vacation to Monte Carlo.
Obviously, the world I would rather live in doesn’t exist anywhere on this planet, although a few countries, Finland and Denmark most notably, have come close.
So, because I want all these things, I am told that I am part of the “woke culture” and that this is a very bad thing to be. I had, of course, heard the term ‘woke’, and in fact it was once used by my own congressman, Warren Davidson. I thought he meant awake, and I corrected his grammar. However, I simply thought the term meant being aware of … whatever the topic of conversation at that moment might be. Apparently, I was quite wrong and am not too terribly bright.
Lately, I notice a number of new terms cropping up … words that have a meaning, but are suddenly assigned a different meaning by … nameless, faceless people … and then that becomes a cultural ‘thing’. Now, I am too damned old to try to keep up with what is meant by a “Gen X” or a “millennial”. Those are bad enough, but now we have these terms like ‘social distancing’, ‘woke’, ‘cancel culture’, and more. C’mon people … say what you mean. Woke. Yes, I awoke this morning, or rather I was awakened by the body saying it needed the bathroom. I woke Miss Goose up because I needed her to help with the house chores. Don’t try to pin the label ‘woke’ on me and send me scurrying to try to figure out just what the Sam Hell you even mean!
Now, from a day or so of research, trying to learn just what is meant in today’s strange culture by “woke”, the nearest I can conclude is that a ‘woke’ person is one who calls for social justice, who supports Black Lives Matter, who supports Roe v Wade and Obergefell v Hodges, who believes in equality for all and is trying to make the world a better place. If that is the right definition, than I am proud to say that yes, I have awakened and am an enlightened social justice warrior, or in today’s vernacular, I’m ‘woke’.
So, a reader claims that being ‘woke’ is a terrible thing, much worse, even, than being a trumpeter! Hmmm … something is wrong with this. Let’s see if we can figure out why it’s better to be a corrupt racist misogynistic psycopathic liar than a person who advocates for equality and social justice.
One explanation I found is that those who are considered to be ‘woke’ are pretentious and cultural elites. Huh? Okay, I know what ‘pretentious’ means, and … I can honestly say I’ve never once had cause to be pretentious a day in my life! And … cultural elites??? Heck, folks, I’m about as elite as … Jethro Bodine from the old Beverly Hillbillies show! I don’t own fancy clothes or drive a fancy car … my van is 20 years old and has 250,000 miles on it, and is only safe to drive no farther than I could walk home. In my lifetime, I’ve been homeless, I’ve been attacked, I’ve had a gun pulled on me, I’ve worked my ass off to get an education and take care of my three children, sometimes working three jobs … ELITE??? Hell no!
So look … don’t bother to consider whether I’m “woke” or not, for it really doesn’t matter. Consider me a person who cares very much about many things: the environment, animals, all people, equality for all, government that works for the people, not against them. I want people to learn to get along, to accept each other as they are, and to value diversity. I want an end to all forms of bigotry, from racism to homophobia to anti-Semitism to misogyny to Islamophobia. I want people to care instead of hate. I want our elected officials to work for us, not be lining their own pockets. I want an end to guns, the sole purpose of which is murder. These are the things that are important to me. Don’t label me. I am who I am, which is far from perfect, for I am sometimes grumpy, have a fairly low tolerance for willful ignorance and stupidity, and I have a sharp edge. But what I do, I do with kindness, caring, compassion, empathy, and love. I am not a label, such as democrat, liberal, snowflake, woke, or any of the other labels people so frequently use. I am me … just that. I do my best.